Government needs to seal the deal on offshore wind farm investment

RenewableUK, the country’s leading renewable energy trade association, welcomed plans by Danish wind turbines manufacturer Vestas to set up an offshore wind power manufacturing base in Sheerness, Kent. Vestas has announced that it has taken an option on the lease of the 70 hectare site, which it will take forward within the next 12 to 24 months, if the UK Government delivers "stability in the wind energy market and long term political and regulatory certainty."

RenewableUK stated that the Vestas announcement is further evidence of the potential of the UK’s offshore wind energy sector, following earlier pledges by Siemens, Gamesa, GE, Mitsubishi and Clipper Windpower.

Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of RenewableUK said: "We have an unprecedented situation where some of the best known wind turbines companies in the world are literally queuing up to invest in the UK. The Government now needs to seal the deal on offshore wind power: it needs to bag the first 8,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds already pledged, by firmly supporting the technology."

The current development pipeline of the UK’s offshore wind turbines sector stands at around 45 gigawatts (only 1.3 GW of which have so far been built), set to supply over 40% of the UK’s net electricity demand. The industry is still concerned though that the lack of Government ambition could deter investors, which need a critical mass of wind farm projects in order to justify building factories and committing to the UK in the long term.

"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solidify our lead in offshore wind energy. If we now take action on policy, chiefly on planning, financial support and grid, we could become a formidable manufacturing force in one of the world’s most cutting edge energy sectors," concluded McCaffery.

RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind power and marine energy renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 654 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Wind has been the world’s fastest growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions to prevent climate change.